Lately it seems like not a day goes by that some example of senseless government action smacks us in the face, reminding us all they are “here to help.” If it weren’t so expensive and destructive, this theater of the absurd could be amusing. Let’s take a stroll through some recent not so excellent adventures in government.
Over the past few years, our federal government has spent, with reckless abandon, huge sums of money we don’t have trying to command our economy to raise from the dead. It hasn’t worked. Yet President Barack Obama keeps asking us to support, just one more time, more of the same kind of spending that so far has failed spectacularly. What was it Albert Einstein said about the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. (Click here and click here.)
We’ve been treated to an unpopular health-care plan that was rammed down our throats with promises it would lower costs and allow us all to keep our health plans if we liked them. The exact opposite has proven true. (Click here and click here.)
Our new “financial reform” law was supposed to fix our financial system. Instead, it increases the cost of banking, makes it harder to loan and borrow money, makes “too big to fail” a permanent fixture of our system, while doing absolutely nothing to deal with the roots of financial crisis. The toxic twins of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are unreformed and continue unabated the same practices that led to the housing meltdown in the first place. (Click here and click here.)
The Environmental Protection Agency has seen its budget grow significantly in the past three years and now continuously cranks out expensive and poorly thought through regulations that impede economic growth. They were ready to impose ozone rules that are likely to cost our economy nearly $100 billion a year with little benefit and require technology that largely doesn’t exist. When the president discovered this would hurt employment, and his re-election chances, he stayed the implementation until after the next election. (Click here.)
Coal produces about half of our electricity in this country, and the EPA is imposing regulations that will put significant amounts of that capacity out of business and kill thousands of jobs. What exactly is going to replace this lost capacity and at what cost? Solar? Wind? It seems like weekly we learn of green companies such as solar panel maker Solyndra that have gotten huge taxpayer grants and promptly go out of business. (Click here and click here.)
There are numerous other examples of our heavy-handed government creating more problems than it solves, but a few recent absurdities highlight our dysfunctional government at work.
Consider the example of a man in Idaho who had a grizzly bear enter his backyard while his children played. He promptly grabbed his gun and killed the bear. Now our government is prosecuting him for killing an endangered species instead of letting it eat his kids. He faces one year in prison and a $50,000 fine. (Click here.)
Then there is the little girl in Virginia who rescued a woodpecker from the jaws of her cat and nursed it back to health in a cage. For her troubles, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service ordered her mother to appear in court to face charges that could carry a one-year jail sentence and also pay a $535 fine for caging the bird. It seems somehow that violates the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act. (Click here.)
The iconic Gibson Guitar company was raided recently by the federal government with armed agents who seized exotic wood used in the guitars. The feds alleged the wood was illegally obtained despite the fact the country of origination, India, authorized the export and Gibson has used the same wood for 17 years. Other American guitar manufacturers use the same suppliers and rosewood for fingerboards as well but were not raided, raising questions of selective enforcement. This action also threatens to move wood finishing jobs overseas. (Click here.)
Here in California, the examples of destructive government behavior are abundant and have resulted in our state going from the leading creator of new companies from 2001-09 to dead last in the past year. California lost more than 4,600 businesses in 2010 and ranks last in business friendliness. (Click here and click here.)
But a recent piece of union-sponsored legislation emerging from Sacramento is a particularly poignant example of a government that has completely lost its grip on reality. Assembly 839, also known as the “babysitters” bill, actually would require that domestic workers, including nannies and babysitters, be given mandatory breaks every few hours, meals and participate in the workers’ compensation system. (Click here.)
I guess we are supposed to also hire a stand-in babysitter to cover those mandatory breaks. Parents would be required to keep meticulous employment records of their babysitters. At least they were good enough to exempt minors and family members.
Unsurprisingly, our hyperactive Assemblyman, Das Williams, supported this mindless intrusion into our lives. Only someone who doesn’t have children could think this is a good idea. The fact that something like this can actually pass our Assembly should horrify clear-thinking individuals.
What we have in all of these examples is the death of common sense. All levels of our government have proven to be out of control and out of touch with the American people and reality. This unbridled government activism is stealing our liberties, strangling our economy and bankrupting our country. Our government takes too much, spends too much and tries to do too much, and does much of it poorly. Leave us alone already! All this “help” is killing us. Limited government anyone?